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Monday, June 6, 2016

Epic Vacation Wrap-Up

Ten glorious days at home in the mountains of western North Carolina: spending time with family, catching up with friends, eating lots of good food, and of course running.  This place is so beautiful; just being outside and looking around is refreshing and restorative.

Since Kevin died, people often ask me if I'm going to move back.  The answer is: I don't know yet.  This will always be home, but so will Indianapolis.  Both places tug at my heart, but sometimes so does the idea of starting over somewhere new.  When the time is right, God will let me know where He wants me to be next.  So for now, I'm just going to keep doing epic every day right where I am.

And where I've been for the past ten days is Paxton Holler in Canton, NC, so here are some of my epic vacation highlights:

White Squirrel Festival 10K

Laura told me about this race a few years ago, and I've wanted to do it ever since.  It's in Brevard, NC, where I went to junior college before transferring to UNC-CH.  The race used to start and finish at the Brevard College gym, and I was excited about returning there and running the campus and town.  Sadly this year they changed the course; it started and finished in town and never went on campus at all.  It still was a lot of fun, though!

It was hot, and the humidity was blanket-level, which made for some pretty foggy views.  It was an out-and-back 5K course that the 10K runners ran twice; and there was one serious hill and several other rolling hills.  For the big hill, we got the downhill first, which for me makes it easier coming back up since I know how far I have to go.  Otherwise running up and up and up with no end in sight lets my mind start messing with me and telling me I can't do it.

I didn't really push, just ran a good pace and had fun.  According to my watch, I made the turnaround at 35 minutes, and the 10K winners came in at 36:43 minutes, so I didn't get lapped.  Also, as I was coming around the final turn to finish I passed the last three people walking the 5K, so I actually lapped someone.  Kind of funny.  My finish time of 1:12:34 was not a 10K PR, but I had a good fun run.

It was awesome running with Laura and Mark.  I saw them three times on the course, and then they were waiting for me at the finish.  Laura got second in our age group with a time of 52:02!

Beta Phi Eta

I had lunch with Amy and Mikell, friends from our Brevard College days.  We ate at the Smoky Mountain Sub Shop, and I highly recommend their bacon pimento cheese burger.  Only $5.99 and totally worth the calorie splurge!  After lunch we browsed the shops on Main Street in Waynesville, and then went up to Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway, where the first pic in this post was made.  Pictures do not do this view justice.  So beautiful!  But the best part was catching up with friends.  It was like no time had passed at all.

NC Mountain Trail Runners

Laura and Mark belong to the NCMTR club, and I joined them for their Monday night group run at Bent Creek in the Pisgah National Forest.  Mark took off with the B group, while Laura and I ran with the C group.  We did 7 1/2 miles, with about 2 miles being gravel forest service roads and the rest single track trail.  It was challenging and fun, except for the part where we almost got run over by a mountain biker speeding down hill.  Seriously dude, call out.  We barely heard your bike in time.

Global Running Day

Laura and I wanted to do something for Global Running Day on June 1st.  We checked online and found a couple of group runs/events in Asheville, but nothing in Haywood County.  So we created the Inaugural Ugly Paxton Sisters Global Running Day group run and invited everyone we knew in the area to join us at Lake Junaluska for a run that evening.

As we were gathering, we saw a rainbow above the lake, but the rain held off for us and we had a really good turnout.  I've been online friends with some of Laura's running friends for a while, and it was fun to meet several of them in person.

I enjoyed decorating race bibs for us, too.  Laura's # 135 is the number she wore in her first ultra, and my # 42 - well you already know that's the ultimate answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything.

Asheville Half Marathon

Laura warned me this would be a hot humid hilly race, but I really wanted to do it.  I like running hills and was looking forward to the challenge.  The race started in downtown Asheville, and the first 6 miles just flew by.  The course was weaving around through some interesting parts of the city, up and down rolling hills, just a lot of fun to run.  I met another online friend, Tina, on the course, and chatted with her several times.

The next 4 miles of the course started to drag.  Now we were running down by the French Broad River, where the course was completely flat, there wasn't much to see, and there were some funky smells.  I was still keeping a good pace, and as I got to the 10 mile marker, I was on pace to PR.  But mile 11 is all up hill, climbing up Overlook Road.  I walked it - I didn't want to kill my legs and have nothing left at the end.  I made up some time running down the other side, though.  I held my arms out like wings and let gravity do the work and just flew down, laughing like a little kid.

After that, I think the heat started to get to me.  The course from there on was nice, running through the A-B Tech Campus and back into downtown.  I was just so hot and so thirsty that I stopped having fun and wanted to be done.  Finally with the Finish Line in sight, I found a little more speed with Laura, Mark & Alice cheering me on and the DJ playing Billy Idol, just for me I'm sure!  Final time: 2:54:45, barely one minute slower than I ran the Mini last month even with the hills, heat & humidity.  I'm happy with that!  Laura finished in 2:11:59, so she had plenty of time to eat, change clothes, & come back to take a finish line picture of me.

What Else?

Oh I could write on & on.  We met Cindy for lunch at her new job; Momma, Starr & I got pedicures; I celebrated my birthday a couple days early with my family; and I had a great time at my 30th high school reunion.  I badly needed this vacation and I'm so blessed that I was able to do all this.

Up Next

Birthday Miles & Margaritas on June 7th
Epic Shit Every Damn Day

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